Carpal tunnel is the most common nerve entrapment syndrome. It affects 3 to 16% of the population. It's more common in females. It usually peaks around the ages of 45 to 60, and it is common with repetitive movement or stress, such as repetitive wrist flexion or extension, wrist movements such as holding our cell phones or laptop use. It's also increased with vibration. Risk factors include diabetes, pregnancy, hypothyroidism, and a number of other different health risks.
It is caused by compression of the median nerve that flows through the carpal tunnel. This compression can cause numbness or tingling or pain in our hand. It often causes motor loss, such as dropping or clumsiness of our hands. 77% of carpal tunnel patients also experience symptoms more at night or right away in the morning.
When treating carpal tunnel, we start off by evaluating the cervical spine, then we make our way into the shoulder, and move on into the elbow, finally making our way down into the hand and wrist. We perform tests that may reproduce the symptoms. We rule out other diagnoses such as osteoarthritis, cervical radiculopathy, and pronator teres syndrome.
Here are few stretches and exercises that we recommend, please see our video for demonstrations:
- finger spreading. Place a rubber band around your fingers and you just spread them apart. You're going to perform this for 25 reps.
- scalene stretch. Sitting up straight, bring your opposite ear to the opposite shoulder. The opposite hand gently pulling down.
- medial nerve glide. While seated, tip your head towards the affected side, dropping your shoulder and arm down. Reach your hand back, extending your hand. Flex your hand toward forward, and then reach your head towards the opposite side.
- With a foam roller, glide along the forearm and perform risk flexion and extension while on tender spots.
- The next exercise is with a weight, find a spot to rest your forearm on the table. Assisting with the opposite hand, flex your fingers towards your face, hand your wrist towards your face, and then slowly lower the weight down. Performing 5-10 reps.
Along with exercises and stretches at-home care is often included in our treatment, avoiding repetitive stress that is causing this carpal tunnel syndrome. Activities such as pushup cycling or yoga may be limited for a short period of time. Braces may also be recommended. Blood work recommendations, including evaluating b6, b12, and vitamin.
If you or anyone you know is dealing with carpal tunnel, please send them our way.
Dr. Madeline KleskContact Me